It's been a week now since Michael and Mia had their lip ties removed, so I figure it's a good time for an update on their progress.
Here are the before-and-after comparison shots:
Though they both appeared to experience a mild level of discomfort on the day of, and were never keen on the stretching exercises and vitamin E application required for the first five days following, they've both come through with flying colors. The healing process has gone incredibly quickly, and the only evidence remaining of the procedure now is a small patch of white in each of their mouths that first appeared a day or so ago and has been fading ever since.
As for the difference that it's made, I never expected to see much of one with Michael. My concerns for him, having left his breastfeeding days far behind him, had only to do with making space in his mouth for the teeth that are trying to make their way out. It is my hope that his two front teeth will now begin to close the gap between them, making space for the lateral incisors on either side, though it will take some time for all of that to happen. What I have observed, in the seven short days that have passed, is a dramatic bit of progress in the eruption of his upper canines. It's likely coincidental, but interesting to note in the comparison photographs all the same.
Mia's story, however, has unfolded quite differently. She was the reason that I sought out a quick resolution once I identified the problem, clinging urgently to the hope that it could make an immediate difference for her. Ultimately, it has.
It took her a couple of days to acknowledge that she had the capability to form a deeper, stronger latch and to take advantage of it with any consistency. However, her gas problems began clearing up right away, and by the fourth or fifth day I hardly got any out of her even when I tried. More importantly, she was no longer showing any signs of being distressed by it: no sudden cries of pain out of nowhere, no attempts to push her tush skyward (a sure sign of gas distress) during her nightly wakings, far fewer periods of irritability with no clearly identifiable cause.
I've also not observed a single green stool (which had become the norm) since last Monday. She's on a good schedule and producing the mustard-yellow shade that I'd been hoping to start seeing. It's only a theory, but it seems to me that while previously Mia was having difficulty extracting hindmilk with the poor latch she was managing, she's now gaining easy access, and it shows. The changes in her feeding schedule support this: she's now eating every 2-3 hours during the day instead of every one.
One of the things that has forced a larger gap between her feeds is the length of the naps that she's been taking. Instead of staying down for only an hour at a time, she's beginning to average about two-and-a-half. She's not predictable about it by any means- we've still had a couple of days of three shorter naps instead of two long ones- but I feel good about the fact that on the days when she feels the need to sleep for longer and more deeply, she can.
In the end, my hopes for her were mostly exceeded, as I'd harbored fears that Mia would require suck re-training even after her tie was released. This has not proven to be the case for us, to my great relief. I must admit to also hoping that the procedure would prove a solution to our problems at night, but it seems that the Four Month Wakeful Period I've heard so much about is playing a part in her sleep regression- a phase I'll just have to ride out like any other. That's not to say that things have not improved at all on that front though, because they have. Mia's working in one long shift now (generally 4-5 hours) amidst the short ones, and when she does wake, there's been no more need for bicycle legs in the dark. Fun as that is, it's no good for keeping babies sleepy in the middle of the night.